Amendments 60, 61 and 101: War chest for fighting tax proposals swells to $2.6 million

A few days ago we told you that members of the Hasan family, grantors of a $300,000 fellowship for "water musings" by (or allegedly by) Scott McInnis, are also the largest reported donors to three tax-cutting initiatives on the November ballot.

But their $10,000 is a pretty modest gesture compared to the millions being gathered by opponents of the measures.

Contributions to Coloradans for Responsible Reform, the coalition fighting the initiatives, have nearly doubled in the past three weeks and now stand at a cool $2.6 million -- more than either McInnis or John Hickenlooper have raised to date in the governor's race.

CFRR claims that passage of Amendments 60 and 61 and Initiative 101, which propose strict new limits on various taxes and fees and government debt, would result in the state's economic ruin. Certainly, the group's biggest donors, which include the construction and financial service industries as well as unions and business lobbying groups, see the measures as a major threat to their interests.

The Denver Chamber of Commerce has ponied up the most of any single donor: $500,000. But the Colorado Contractors Association has scraped together $320,000 (in a lousy year), and the New York-based Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association has chipped in another $250,000. Nearly half of the money comes from either business-oriented trade groups or financial services organizations.

And where is that money going? Get ready for the TV and radio ads. According to CFRR's latest campaign finance report, a $2 million media blitz is already in the works.

For more details on the war chest and the argument over the initiatives, check out my feature "Signed, Sealed, Rejected" and the websites of CFRR and the proponents, CoTaxReforms.

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Alan Prendergast has been writing for Westword for over thirty years. He teaches journalism at Colorado College; his stories about the justice system, historic crimes, high-security prisons and death by misadventure have won numerous awards and appeared in a wide range of magazines and anthologies.
Contact: Alan Prendergast